Today was idyllic. The skies were my favorite-color shade of blue, devoid of even a hint of a cloud between the sun rising and setting. From time to time, a breeze stirred the lilac blooms enough to perfume our yard with the surest sign of warm weather. The mama duck, nesting in the planting bed beside our garage, even looked serene as she tended her eggs throughout the day. Spring.
My offspring, not your go-getter, play outside from dawn-til-dusk types, spent a sizable chunk of the day outside, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. The kids spent much of their day trekking between the playground, ours and two other houses, playing home run derby, shooting Dude Perfect trick baskets (trying to anyway), throwing Hail Mary football passes at the playground, and dancing to Wii Just Dance. It was a beautiful thing. All of it. Well, until the very end it was anyway.
At the end of the evening’s festivities, my big kid lumbers downstairs clearly wanting to tattle on his brother for something. My big kid is the least verbally subtle or sly child on the planet, and he hasn’t quite grasped that I’m quite good with the language comprehension, so it never dissuades him from trying. So instead of coming out with it (which, *sigh*, can be exhausting for the listener at times), he instead advises me how itchy he feels. Mother of the Year that I am, I’m all like, “Well you stink too, so what better solution than to take a shower?” And PS–I didn’t tell him he stunk. I did however tell my little one he stunk because holy crap! That kid could not be allowed to marinade in his own juices for one minute more. People, he STUNK!
I’m feeling good, like I staved off the verbal sparring match before it’d even begun in suggesting he get in the shower. Nope. He continues to say that the kids thought it’d be fun to hold him down, bean him with a football and put dirt down his shirt. And THAT is (obviously) the leap he intended me to make because he’s 12 and showering is so rarely a “hey, I have a good idea” idea from him.
Little one says he wasn’t in on it (he surely had to have been), but when I asked him if he stepped in to ask the others to stop or intervene in any way, he stared at his feet, gone mute. I get that boys will be boys and all, and throwing dirt down someone’s shirt is probably as stinkin’ hilarious as it gets. I don’t think the kids meant to be complete jerks to him; there was no diabolical plan to torture or maim. They’re kids, and nice kids at that. But my big kid, despite towering over his peers, is an easy target. And everyone knows it.
While big kid was showering, I pulled the small one on my lap (no small feat there), and said that not helping his brother out when he needed help amounted to pretty much doing the deed. His expression as he registered that made me tear up. We don’t talk much about MD every day, and that’s a great thing. But I feel like my little one needed the reminder that even though he’s the little brother, he’s going to be called to help the big kid in ways atypical of traditional big- and little- brother roles. “Your brother can’t get up that fast, and he can’t duck and run they way you and your friends can, so even if you’re just messing around, which I think you were, it’s harder for him. Try to remember that next time, and think how you would feel if someone was messing with you, even in fun, and you couldn’t wrestle out of it.” Is that too much to put on a 10-year-old?
I sometimes just wish my big guy was more ably-equipped for battle. What a weird thing to wish for, huh? My brother and I tangled when we were kids. Everyone does, I know. Almost everyone gets the snot pounded out of them at one time or another by a brother or sister, some kid down the block, someone somewhere. It is the way of the world, and thankfully, kids’ memories are short. This little football/dirt dust-up is no big thing–it’s not–and my son will have long forgotten this by morning. Tomorrow promises to be another gem like today, and I cannot wait to carpe the hell out of the diem.